Exciting three-year-old Te Toki will be sporting a new look when he resumes on Saturday at Te Rapa where he will attempt to maintain his unbeaten record for a changed ownership group.
The son of Tarzino was an effortless debut winner at Taupo in September and was given a break after he beat older Rating 65 opposition during the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival.
The Gerard Petersen-managed Gee Gee Equine and businessman Rod Duke subsequently bought into Te Toki to join the previous owners, which includes trainers Katrina and Simon Alexander.
As a result, Te Toki’s regular rider Vinnie Colgan will don Petersen’s familiar silks of purple with white stars for the first time when they contest the Print House Handicap (1400m) at Te Rapa.
“He’s fit enough for the task and had a nice enough trial the other day. He’s got to kick off somewhere and I think the conditions should suit him,” Katrina Alexander said.
“He’s as forward as we can get him without a run, but he is quite a gross doing horse and we’ve been conscious to try and get some condition off him, which we’re slowly achieving.
“It’s a kick-off point on the way to a bigger goal and we just want to see him develop a racing pattern that will be more suitable for him going forward.
“He’s never really had that opportunity to be able to be left alone in the running and settle among horses and then finish off.
“At his last start, he had to work most of the way because he got caught wide so from his draw on Saturday, he should be able to sit and relax and find the line strongly.”
Te Toki’s summer program includes the Gr.2 Skycity Auckland Guineas (1600m) at Ellerslie on January 1 as a lead into the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) three weeks later.
“All going well, he will run on New Year’s Day with the Karaka Million the main focus for him,” Alexander said. “He’s in new ownership now so he may go to Australia at some point.”
The stable isn’t short of three-year-old talent with the gifted La Crique back in work after an initial campaign that netted three wins on the bounce and a third placing in the Listed Trevor & Coralie Eagle Memorial (1500m).
“She had a couple of weeks in the paddock after her last run. We spelled her here at home and she did really well, she’s a lightly-framed filly and she put on a lot of condition,” Alexander said.
“She has completed her first week back at the track and she doesn’t take a lot to come up and we’re hopeful of getting her going again in January.
“The New Zealand Oaks (Gr.1, 2400m) is the focus for her. We put in a nomination for the New Zealand Derby (Gr.1, 2400m), but realistically she is better off among the females and it gives us a little more time to prepare her for that.”
La Crique is raced by the Cassin family, who bred the filly, and they also share in the ownership of the promising Farrenc.
The daughter of Dalghar was a two-year-old winner last season and placed in the Gr.3 Northland Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) this term before she was side-lined.
“She’s had some time out and unfortunately we had some trouble with a foot problem so we are desperately working on that to get her going again,” Alexander said.
“Having said that, I think she is better suited to the autumn with the natural give in the tracks. There is no great rush with her and she will develop further with time and what she has done to date is a bonus.”
Meanwhile, high staying hopes are held for Real Impact’s daughter Stopalltheclocks, who has placed four times from six appearances.
“She’s a consistent mare and she desperately needs ground, but you can’t throw them in at the deep end and have to progressively step them up in distance,” Alexander said.
“She will go around at Matamata next Wednesday over 2000m and she will put in a good performance again. The further she goes the better she will be, she isn’t a sit and sprint horse and takes a lot of time to wind up.”